A retro-rocker who’s stood the test
of time, Lenny
Kravitz is in the radio.wazee spotlight this week
with "Stillness Of The Heart," the latest
release from his seventh studio album, "Lenny"
on Virgin Records.
was born in 1964 with showbiz in his blood: his Jewish
father was a top television producer and his Bahamian
mother an actress on the popular ‘70s television show
"The Jeffersons." As a teenager he attended
Beverly Hills High School, where his contemporaries
includedSlash (Guns N'Roses) and Maria McKee (Lone
Justice). Lenny completed his first demos in 1987,
which concluded with an early version of what would
become his breakthrough hit in 1989, "Let Love
Rule." Despite Virgin America’s initial skepticism
over Lenny’s insistence that the finished product
should only feature "real" instruments rather
than digital and computerized passages, "Let
Love Rule" was a smash hit with the public. Lenny
then gained greater success when Madonna recorded
his song "Justify My Love."
In 1991 Lenny released the heavily
‘60s and early ‘70s rock influenced"Mama Said."
The set spawned the U.S. Top 5/U.K. Top 20 hit "It
Ain't Over 'Til It's Over," a kiss-off to his
soon-to-be ex-wife, actress Lisa Bonet ("The
Cosby Show"). Lenny went on to write an entire
album for French chanteuse Vanessa Paradis, and collaborated
with artists as diverse as Curtis Mayfield, Aerosmith
and Mick Jagger. The hard rocking title track of the
follow-up, 1993’s "Are You Gonna Go My Way,"
was another worldwide success, breaking into the U.K.
Top 5. "Circus" featured a stripped-down
version of his trademark sound, displaying his talent
as a writer of more contemporary sounding material.
On mid-1998’s "5," Lenny embraced digital
recording and a more relaxed fusion of soul and hip-hop
styles. From that album, the single "Fly Away"
was a chart hit, as well as an inescapable soundtrack
to several major advertising campaigns both in his
home of the U.S. and abroad. Shorn of his trademark
dreadlocks, Lenny released a "Greatest Hits"
collection in 2000, including one new track, "Again,"
and in 2001 completed and released "Lenny,"
from which"Stillness Of Heart" is culled.
Aside from commercial success, Lenny
has garnered critical praise, as well, taking home
four Grammy Awards: 1998, 1999, 2000, and last week's
2001 Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for "Dig
In" (also from "Lenny"). He also took
home the 2002 American Music Award for Favorite Male
Lenny has announced the first two
legs what is expected to be a yearlong round-the-world
tour. The shows will kick off in Hiroshima, Japan,
on April 9th, wrapping up April 18th at Budokan in
Tokyo. After that, Lenny heads out for a short European
jaunt starting with the Rock Am Ring festival in Nurburgring,
Germany, on May 17th, and ending June 12th in Oberhausen,
Germany. Lenny’s also among hundreds of jazz and jazz-influenced
artists and acts including India Arie, Counting Crows,
Blues Traveler, String Cheese Incident and Ratdog
slated to appear at the 33rd annual New Orleans Jazz
& Heritage Festival April 25th-May 5th.